Posts Tagged: Emily Symmes
McPherson joins ANR as Bay Area UCCE regional director
Frank McPherson joined UC ANR on Feb. 3, 2020, as a regional director for UC Cooperative Extension serving Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center. He is highly experienced in providing service to external and internal customers.
Prior to joining ANR, McPherson was director of Customer Service at San Jose-based BD Biosciences, where he led the Customer Service division of 75 employees and provided direction to clinical and research applications support, education services, technical support, contract administration and other teams.
From 2000 to 2013, McPherson served as a senior manager at Applied Materials where he led a team of highly skilled account service representatives; directed and managed Contact Center start-ups across the globe, negotiated contracts; and interfaced with planning, purchasing, order fulfillment and logistics to meet customer requirements.
From 1998 to 2000, as a manager at Air France, he was in charge of customer support for clients in Canada, the United States and Mexico. As a director of operations at Global Discount Travel from 1995 to 1998, McPherson managed 200 staff members with 2,000 accounts nationwide. From 1985 to 1995, as a superintendent in the US Air Force, he was in charge of command posts and operation centers.
McPherson holds a bachelor's degree in business management from University of Maryland and a master's degree in business management from Troy State University in Alabama. He is fluent in German.
He is based at the UCCE office in Concord and can be reached at (925) 608-6674 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mada appointed ANR chief information officer
After a long open search, Sree Mada has been named chief information officer, effective March 1, 2020.
Mada has 22 years of technical, functional and business experience in the field of Information Technology. During his career, he has demonstrated strong expertise in enterprise technical solutions in various complex business transformative implementations.
Mada joined UC in 2012, and in 2014 he joined ANR as program manager for UCPath.
“UCPath successfully went live last October thanks in no small part to Sree's skills and commitment to UC ANR's mission, and to his colleagues and the team he led,” said Tu M. Tran, associate vice president for Business Operations.
In his new role as chief information officer, reporting to Tran, Mada will be responsible for moving ANR to new technology platforms and readying our systems for an improved cybersecurity environment. He will also be responsible for implementing modern solutions for programmatic, business and administrative computing, in addition to building an organization that delivers efficient and effective technical solutions to advance the education, research and service mission of UC ANR.
Mada holds certifications from the Project Management Institute and the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, in addition to earning a bachelor's degree in statistics and political science and a master's degree in computer science and applications from Osmania University, India.
Mada will be located in office 173 in the ANR building at 2801 Second Street in Davis and can be reached at (908) 346-0196 and email@example.com.
Brown named director of Staff Human Resources
Bethanie Brown has assumed the role of director of Staff Human Resources effective Feb. 1, 2020.
Brown, who was associate director of Human Resources, now is responsible for staff recruitment and compensation, organizational development/workforce planning, UCPath Human Resources operations and employee/labor relations. Brown continues to report to John Fox in his role as executive director for Human Resources. Brown's expanded role over Staff Human Resources will allow Fox to focus on initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, employee engagement and career development. Fox also continues to serve as ANR's Title IX and non-discrimination officer.
Tina Jordan, Academic Human Resources manager; Jodi Azulai, ANR Learning & Development coordinator; and David White, principal Affirmative Action analyst and Title IX investigator continue to report to Fox.
Master Gardeners welcome three new program coordinators
Growing up in Denver, Danica Taber explored plant cultivation as a student at University of Colorado Boulder by volunteering at the university greenhouses to help care for the phenomenal teaching collection.
In 2012, she moved to Santa Barbara, where she gained growing experience. “I was fortunate enough to serve as the manager for UCSB's research greenhouses and teaching collections. I got a crash course in IPM, and I also began to appreciate how valuable invested volunteers are,” says Taber.
After completing master's degrees in public affairs and environmental science at Indiana University-Bloomington, Taber moved back to the area to live with her husband.
Taber is based in Santa Barbara and can be reached at (805) 893-2125 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally from Iowa, Uhde earned her B.S. in kinesiology, public health option from Iowa State University, where she studied human nutrition, exercise science and public health. After graduating, she moved to Kansas where she coordinated regional food access programs and led statewide farmers market, food policy, and school health initiatives, including the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which served over 5,000 eligible older adults through 19 local agencies and 450 certified farmers. Uhde also managed a weekly farmers' market on the capitol grounds in Topeka. She holds a Master Gardener Home Horticulture Certificate from Oregon State University Extension.
“Katherine is passionate about community policy, systems and environmental changes that are sustainable, protect the environment and promote healthy lifestyles. We are delighted to have her as part of the UC Master Gardener Program,” said Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor.
Uhde is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 282-3138 and email@example.com.
Burke earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating, she pursued her interests in food, agriculture and education. Working with the local farm and garden community for close to 10 years now, she has experience in both the programs and operations sides of small nonprofits.
Burke is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7425 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the new UC Master Gardener program coordinators at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=39206.
Almond Pest Management Alliance Team wins IPM award
The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team received an award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Environmental Protection Agency for their vigorous promotion of IPM and acting as a hub for growers, pest control advisers, researchers and others to organize their collective efforts and rapidly respond to arising pest issues.
The Almond Pest Management Alliance Team serves as a role model for the implementation of integrated pest management practices in California. The team consists of UC IPM advisors David Haviland, Jhalendra Rijal and Emily Symmes, industry researcher Bradly Higbee of Trécé, USDA scientist Charles Burkes and Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California.
The team encouraged the adoption of mating disruption for managing navel orangeworm, a major pest in almond orchards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. After they began demonstrating that mating disruption proved to be an economical pest control method in orchards, they saw a rapid rise in growers adopting the technology. Kern County showed a 26% countywide increase in the adoption of mating disruption from 2017-2018.
For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bug and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption. For the past three years, the team put these IPM practices on display using eight demonstration orchards across the San Joaquin Valley as part of a CDPR Pest Management Alliance Grant.
PCAs and growers who participated in UC Almond Pest Management Alliance activities were surveyed – an average of 93.8% of participants stated that information that they received was considered when making pest management decisions.
The Almond Pest Management Alliance Team also received a California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition sponsored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas.
A three-minute video about the Almond Pest Management Alliance Team can be downloaded at https://ucdavis.box.com/s/7bo2ckkxi7kfvqevc346js6m6g3gvtg5.
Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse win CSAC Challenge Award
The California State Association of Counties honored UCCE Humboldt County advisors Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeffery Stackhouse and the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association with one of its 18 Challenge Awards to recognize county innovation and best practices. As part of the award, CSAC wrote a story at https://www.counties.org/county-voice/first-west-humboldt-countys-prescribed-burn-association-teaches-value-fire and produced a video about their efforts. The video is posted at https://youtu.be/EhkCFRVZ2NE.
In 2017, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse developed the Prescribed Burn Association, which has steadily grown. The association is composed of landowners, nonprofits, volunteer firefighters and other community members who work together to carry out prescribed burns on private land. Until the association was created, most landowners and community members lacked access to prescribed burn information and training.
In 2017, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse developed the Prescribed Burn Association, which has steadily grown. The association is composed of landowners, nonprofits, volunteer firefighters and other community members who work together to carry out prescribed burns on private land. Until the association was created, most landowners and community members had lacked access to prescribed burn information and training.
The concept of a prescribed burn association is catching on. Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse have presented the Humboldt County model to numerous counties around the state.
Beyond the benefit of prescribed burns for land management, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse say the association brings together groups that have traditionally been at odds – ranchers, people who work in timber, environmentalists and cannabis growers.
“Instead of being on opposite sides of an issue, people are gaining understanding for the other side,” Stackhouse told CSAC. “It has opened the door for real, honest communication between different groups that otherwise would not be happening. Having people work together who have been on different sides of the community really is amazing.”
Meyer receives Water Quality Stewardship Award
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board presented its Water Quality Stewardship Award to Deanne Meyer, a UCCE specialist in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, on Feb. 6.
Meyer studies livestock waste management, lectures in the Department of Animal Science and advises agricultural and environmental majors. She is also the environmental stewardship module coordinator for the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP), part of the California Dairy Research Foundation.
Meyer has provided technical advice and comments in developing the North Coast Regional Water Board's dairy program. She provides technical expertise at CDQAP workshops to help dairy operators comply with the requirements of the Regional Water Board's dairy permit. Meyer also served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Alternative Manure Management Program. Meyer is currently working with Regional Water Board staff on a contract to test manure and soil on 30 North Coast pasture-based dairies to assist dairy operators in developing a nutrient budget for Nutrient Management Plans.
The Executive Officer's Water Quality Stewardship Award is an annual award given to an individual or group whose exceptional work contributes to the preservation and enhancement of surface water and groundwater quality in the North Coast Region.
4-H Camping Advisory Committee receives national research award
The American Camp Association recognized the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee with its 2020 Eleanor P. Eells Excellence in Research in Practice Award. Marianne Bird, 4-H youth development advisor in Sacramento County and chair of the 4-H Camping Advisory Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the team on Feb. 12 At its national conference in San Diego.
The Eells Award recognizes programs that apply innovative, quality research or evaluation findings to improve program practice, and share their findings with others.
Since its inception in 2004, program evaluation and improvement has been a focus of the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee. However, engaging the 25 or more local, volunteer-run camps in program assessment proved challenging.
To engage camps in data and the program improvement process, the committee embraced the use of “data parties” to share results and encourage dialogue with the camps participating in the current study. A data party gathers stakeholders to analyze or interpret collected data. The committee invited camps to bring a team of three to six people (4-H teen leaders, adult volunteers and professional staff) to explore statewide findings, as well as data from their own camp. Teams then created an action plan for improving their programs.
The event encouraged buy-in and a sense of ownership to the data. Participants reported new insights and greater understanding of the data, and cited changes they had made to their programs as a result. Since initiating the data party format four years ago, participation in the statewide evaluation has grown from nine to 22 camps.
“When those engaged in programming understand and embrace data, then is an evaluation truly useful,” said Bird. “These are the people who can make change happen. For California 4-H, the camp data party has been the key to opening dialogue and improving our programs."
Between the Camp Fire in Butte County and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California in November, most ANR members have been affected in some way by the devastating wildfires. Several have experienced major personal losses that they are still dealing with.
While the Camp Fire was still raging on Nov. 14, Emily Symmes, director of UCCE in Butte County, wrote:
“As you can imagine, due to the destruction of nearly the entire town of Paradise and other ridge communities, all of our employees have numerous friends, family, and loved ones who have lost their homes and all of their belongings, as evacuations were so sudden and urgent that most left with only what they could grab in minutes. As such, all have been affected to varying degrees. We have two direct staff members, Alexandra Falk (nutrition education specialist) and John Klepps (Honey Bee Tech Transfer Team) who lived in Paradise. Both have received confirmation that their homes were among those destroyed. They and their families and pets are now safe and have found temporary housing. Many in our extended network of 4-H and Master Gardener program participants and volunteers resided in Paradise have also been heavily impacted, losing everything.”
Among the Master Gardener volunteers in Paradise who lost their houses is Bob DiPietro and his wife, parents of Damon DiPetro of ANR's IT team. Damon's sister and her family also lost their house.
Colleagues have asked how to help.
Emergency resources for UC employees
In response to queries, the Staff Assembly has posted information on their website about the impact of the Camp Fire on our ANR employees and their families at http://staffassembly.ucanr.edu/Resources_/Emergency_Resources_/. Earlier in the year, they posted similar information for those impacted by the Mendocino fires and have committed to maintain Emergency Services information on their website whenever any UC ANR employees are impacted.
Emergency support is also available to UC employees from the university's benefit plans https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2018/11/emergency-support-from-ucs-benefit-plans.html.
UC ANR assists Camp Fire survivors
In the midst of their own losses, UCCE staff in Butte County and neighboring counties have been reaching out to assist community members. For example, Ryan Cleland, 4-H representative, has been working with the 4-H community since Nov. 8, the day the Camp Fire erupted, to coordinate assistance and volunteerism. He is providing vetted and frequently updated information on where evacuated and displaced people can find help and how other community members can volunteer, donate and contribute.
The UCCE nutrition education team has been assisting with meal preparation at shelters, and also with volunteering at indoor youth activities available through the shelters and the local area recreation district.
Other UCCE staff and advisors have been volunteering where needed – helping gather and deliver supplies, volunteering at human shelters and animal shelters, helping out at the numerous meal centers that have popped up.
UC Master Gardener volunteers have been reaching out to fellow Master Gardeners who have lost their homes or remain evacuated to offer housing and other support.
Tracy Schohr, UCCE livestock and natural resource advisor in Plumas and Sierra counties, has been helping care for large animals in the evacuation zone.
The forestry, fire and natural resource advisors have ongoing fire safety research and education programs, coordinating with fire safe councils, and working with other agencies to assist in recovery and become better prepared for natural disasters.
In my ANR Update message on Feb. 8, I shared a report released in January by the Huron Consulting Group on the UC Office of the President's (UCOP) organizational structure. President Napolitano's goal in commissioning that review was to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UCOP, while aligning its work to best support the university's core mission.
As I mentioned last month, Huron offered options that we believe would harm ANR's ability to deliver our mission of research and extension and to bring UC to local communities in every part of California. We identified several issues with both options, chief among those were adding layers of administration between ANR and the UC president as well as between ANR and the public we serve. Those additional layers would likely increase administrative costs and reduce funding for program delivery. At the president's request, we have developed an alternative proposal that would strengthen ANR's ability to deliver our mission while also serving the needs of UCOP for better financial management and administrative efficiency.
A challenge we have faced for years is that about half of our budget flows through UCOP while we manage the remainder directly. ANR is the only major operating division at UCOP that directly conducts research and program delivery, with hundreds of employees throughout California deploying over $200 million in resources. This has caused a great deal of confusion for auditors and often led to budget cuts during calls to reduce UC administrative overhead. Our recommendation places the entire ANR budget into one operating unit/location within the UC Chart of Accounts and allows for more transparency to the public. It also improves ANR's opportunities to stabilize our funding, rebuild our academic footprint and enhance program delivery.
Unlike the institutions used as examples in Huron's report, there is no one flagship campus serving as California's land-grant institution; instead, the entire UC system is responsible for the land-grant mission. To effectively deliver that mission, ANR is structured as a large statewide operating unit administering over 300 Memoranda of Understanding with a wide array of public and private sector partners, including deployment of resources on multiple campuses across the UC system and in close partnership with local governments in every county. The Huron report recognized that housing ANR within one campus was suboptimal and could create perceptions of favoritism and inequities between the campuses. Our proposal calls for a collaborative relationship; injecting competition and administrative layers would not serve the UC system nor our stakeholders well.
Separating ANR's budget and FTE from UCOP offers many advantages to both entities. Under the proposal we have offered, the ANR vice president continues to report directly to the president, the ANR governance structure does not change and no people or infrastructure would be moved. The proposal does agree with the Huron recommendation that ANR funding should be changed to state appropriations and that reconnecting the UC Natural Reserve System to ANR offers improved research opportunities for both entities. We believe these changes would best achieve the president's objectives to better align UCOP support functions to campuses while enhancing the systemwide and statewide functions of a vital outreach and engagement arm of the university.
The president continues to analyze the different options before her to ensure UCOP is best serving the UC system as well as all Californians for the long term. We are excited to work closely with President Napolitano to strengthen UC as a premiere research and extension institute by giving these vital programs room to grow and better serve the critical needs of California's economy and communities. I will continue to keep you apprised as our discussions unfold.
Gabriel Torres joined UCCE on Feb. 1, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Torres was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside developing an integrated pest management strategy for controlling the most prevalent nematode species in grape vineyards in California. Torres evaluated rootstock resistance, chemical and biological compounds, and anaerobic soil disinfestation methods. Torres conducted most of the nematode experiments under the supervision of UC Cooperative Extension specialist Andreas Westphal.
From 2014 to 2016, Torres was a leader of the plant pathology program for the Colombian Oil Palm Natural Research Centre (CENIPALMA) in Bogota, Colombia. There he developed and guided projects aimed at solving disease problems of the oil palm crop in Colombia, including bud rot, lethal wilt, and basal stem rot.
He completed a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.Sc. in agronomy from Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia.
Torres is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3316 and email@example.com.
Lund named grape advisor for Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties
Karl Lund joined UCCE on Jan. 8, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Lund was a trial specialist at Syngenta Flower, where he designed and conducted floriculture research trials under both greenhouse and garden conditions for a wide variety of flowering plants, specifically focused on the development of fertilization recommendations and nutrient profiles. In 2016, Lund was a technology development representative at Monsanto, where he worked with seed distributors and local farmers to plant, maintain and evaluate pre-commercial varieties of lettuce, bell peppers and spinach.
Lund spent many years teaching and conducting research in viticulture. Starting in 2008, he worked in the laboratory of Andy Walker at UC Davis, where he ran a project looking at the phenotypic and genetic diversity of phylloxera in Northern California, and trying to understand the genetics of phylloxera resistance in hopes of breeding new phylloxera resistance rootstocks for California. His research helped identify new feeding types of phylloxera in Northern California and connected those feeding types to genetic groups. He also identified new sources of broad phylloxera resistance to be used in breeding phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.
As a postdoc in the Walker lab, Lund looked at drought avoidance in grapevine rootstocks. Insights from this work may be useful in the creation of more drought-tolerant rootstocks. In addition to his research, he was a teaching assistant for several UC Davis classes. Lund wrote a book chapter on grapevine breeding in the western United States and lectured at Cal Poly SLO for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Lund completed a B.S. and a Ph.D. in genetics at UC Davis.
Based in Madera, Lund can be reached at (559) 675-7879, ext. 7205 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansal joins CSIT as portfolio and project manager
Namita Kansal recently joined the Communication Services and Information Technology as a portfolio and project manager.
Some of the projects she is working on include assessing the network status of all UCCE sites in California to inform strategic decisions to fund and prioritize the UCCE sites that urgently need network upgrades, portfolio-level reports to inform strategic, operational and funding decisions for the Web IT team, a change management process for the entire IT team, and a project plan and funding estimates for the ANR website redesign.
Before joining ANR, Kansal was a project manager at the UC Davis School of Medicine, working to operationalize strategic initiatives, program development and project management.
She earned a masters in public administration and a master in arts from Syracuse University.
Kansal is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1207 and email@example.com.
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has selected Ali Pourreza, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, to receive the Sunkist Young Designer Award.
This award recognizes and honors ASABE members under 40 years of age for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the agricultural engineering profession and to stimulate professional achievement.
Sponsored by Sunkist Growers, Inc., the Young Designer Award recognizes the development of a technical plan that influences agricultural engineering progress, as evidenced by use in the field.
Pourreza developed a polarized imaging technique to detect accumulation of starch in citrus leaves as an early indication of citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB).
“The polarized imaging technique was primarily used for early citrus greening detection, that is a major disease of citrus with no known cure,” said Pourreza. “Early detection of citrus greening is important because growers can prevent further spread of the disease before the entire orchard gets infected. The polarized imaging technique can also be used in other applications that involve the detection of starch or sugar.”
He also developed the Virtual Orchard, which uses aerial imagery and photogrammetry to create a 3-D image of an orchard.
“Knowledge about tree geometry such as individual canopy cover, volume, height and density is important for growers to understand variability within their orchard and make timely decisions about irrigation, nutrient, pest and disease, etc.,” Pourreza said. ”Virtual Orchard is an affordable technology that makes this information accessible for growers. Information extracted from the Virtual Orchard can be used to apply variable rate inputs in a site-specific manner according to the prescription maps that identify the application rate at different locations of an orchard.”
The award will be presented to Pourreza during the ASABE annual meeting in July in Detroit.
UC ANR receives award for extending high-speed broadband
CENIC has awardedUC ANR its 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. The award recognizes work to extend high-speed broadband to University of California researchers in rural communities across California by connecting UC ANR sites to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN),
Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer; Tolgay Kizilelma, chief information security officer; and Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations, were recognized as project leaders.
“You can't do big data with dial-up internet speed,” said Jeffery Dahlberg, director of the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center. “Before this upgrade, our internet was slower than my home internet speeds. Now we have speeds more like you will find on UC campuses.”
In addition to the RECs, Highlander Hall, home to News and Information Outreach in Spanish and the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, is now connected to CalREN. Elkus Ranch (the environmental education center for Bay Area youths), the UC ANR building in Davis and 30 UC Cooperative Extension sites are in the process of being connected.
“Mark has exceptional accomplishments in the private sector, academia and administration that demonstrate his ability to partner and collaborate in order to achieve what, at first, might seem impossible,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president. “I'm excited about the expertise, experience, insight and perspective he will bring to UC ANR as we drive towards our 2025 Strategic Vision and having a positive impact for every Californian.”
Lagrimini is currently a professor in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the regulation of carbohydrate partitioning in maize and its impact on drought tolerance.
“I am excited about joining the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources leadership team,” Lagrimini said. “Agriculture is an economic engine for the state of California. I will support a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork within the division to turn the numerous challenges we face in agriculture into opportunities.”
From 2005 to 2011, he served as head of the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, leading the university's largest department of more than 80 faculty members.
From 1999 to 2005, he was a project leader for Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. located in Research Triangle Park, NC, where he led an ambitious agronomic improvement project using structural and functional genomics, coordinated ectopic gene expression, metabolic pathway engineering, elite maize transformation, and physiological assessment of plant performance with proof-of-concept achieved. While at Syngenta, Lagrimini received four U.S. patents. He began his academic career as an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Horticulture & Crop Science at The Ohio State University from 1987 to 1999.
He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and a B.S. in biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, Lagrimini will report directly to the Associate Vice President and collaborate closely with the Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs and Vice Provost of Academic Personnel and Development. He will lead the County Director/REC Director Council, oversee all UCCE county directors, REC directors and both assistant vice provost positions and serve on Program Council.
Lagrimini will join ANR on June 1, 2018, and be based at the Second Street building in Davis.